Western United will face Melbourne Victory once again on Boxing Day in a big clash at the top of the Isuzu UTE A-League Men table.
The Green and Black is on a club-record four-game winning streak and currently sits second on the ladder, narrowly ahead of Victory in third.
A 1-0 win for Victory in the opening match of the season in Geelong is the only blight on United’s fixture list so far while Victory have only lost once themselves, making for a very important early-season encounter.
After difficult campaigns for both sides last time out, Western United and Melbourne Victory have both bounced back with new coaches and new players at the beginning of the 2021/22 campaign.
Victory’s new Italian striker Francesco Margiotta has found his feet in Australia with two goals in as many games, while Roderick Miranda has been key for Tony Popovic’s side at the back.
The home side on the night is coming off a thrilling Melbourne Derby, with Nick D’Agostino’s late goal earning a 2-2 draw after a cracking game at AAMI Park.
Western United looking to continue club-record form
But United, led by John Aloisi, is currently in the best form it has seen since its first A-League Men season in 2019/20, setting the tone early for a positive campaign.
Leo Lacroix has immediately become one of the league’s best players, with the Swiss star claiming the first PFA Player of the Month award for November.
Connor Pain has struck two goals in as many games, both brilliant finishes to secure wins against Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United, while the entire defensive structure has been outstanding, conceding a league-best one goal all season.
Victory is beginning to claw back the head-to-head record after United had won three of the opening four encounters between the two, with the other being an intense 0-0 draw.
Even though two wins in a row now give United’s rivals confidence, but the Green and Black will enter this instalment with the boost of its promising form to start the season.
United performed well in Round 1 but fell just short to a set-piece, so Aloisi and the players will also take confidence from that display into what is sure to be a heated and entertaining battle.